The sediments of my homeland shift downstream the Mississippi riding the brackish current all the way down to the Gulf. Where the air smells thick, a mosquito medium of mossy Magnolia branches line the streets where French wrought-iron gated homes stand next to modern housing. Breathtakingly beautiful and deeply steeped with a French-influenced magical culture, this is Louisiana, where I was born and raised.
I grew up in southern Louisiana infatuated with my education. An education that happened to be a 40-minute drive away from home. I didn’t grow up with my own room or many of the things my friends got on their 16th birthdays, but my family was an incredibly strong support system for me. They encouraged me to latch onto the things that I loved and excelled at, so the material things began to matter less. Education mattered more. Science challenged me to think critically to learn about the world around me; French & English pushed me interact with the diversity of the world around me; and Visual Art plunged me into my reflections of the world around me. And though many life lessons came out of my school and my family alike, something was still missing, something little Malc still craved.
It wasn’t until moving away to Texas for college that I realized that craving was for relationships, for deep connections with people outside of my family. I had many friends in high school but was close with only a few since I lived so far away. University was where I learned how powerful connection can be as I formed strong bonds with people were who once strangers. People who became to be life-long friends and mentors. Through these people, I reimagined how to critically think about the world around me; I desired interaction with the people in the diverse world around me; and I discovered how to reflect and learn about myself in relation to those around me. So, you can imagine why I thrived when I moved to Kansas City and found Power Life—a sanctuary for those who value these immensely powerful person to person bonds.
Miles away from the salty, humid air I was used to breathing, I found my missing piece—genuine human connection. Just as we all crave food and shelter, we thirst for social interaction. Sociologists & neuroscientists say it’s why our brains are disproportionally larger than most mammals for the size of our bodies, because our human brains are hardwired to process social connection and belonging. Our brains expend this energy because it results in us feeling good, happier, more productive and more efficient. Connection improves our life at its very essence without changing our circumstances, simply our perspective!
I imagine the days when I have been stressed or felt dragged down and how the eye contact and warm smile of a stranger, a call or text from a loved one, or seeing a random act of kindness happen before me immediately lifted me out of that hole of negative energy. We all have felt this! Those simple acts cause our bodies to release oxytocin—a powerful hormone the body produces when holding hands, hugging someone, or during sexual intimacy—in conjunction with endorphins and other neurotransmitters that stabilize our brain chemistry and enhance our mood, memory, and social associations. Having strong connection in our lives literally elevates the health of our bodies: we live longer, our immune systems are stronger, we are better people overall.
Social interaction integrates our bodies, minds and spirits. Oh yeah… like our yoga practice, which extends far beyond asana, our movement and postures. This is but one limb on our 8-limbed path. The second limb, the Niyamas, are our spiritual observances that allow us to heighten our awareness of connection within one another. I think of santosha & tapas, respectively, contentment and discipline. Santosha is about finding satisfaction where we are, not necessarily happiness, but satisfaction. It means accepting what and where we are in this present moment. What can we learn from ourselves where we are now in our lives? In this quarantine? In the world? And tapas is our fiery discipline; discipline beyond holding ourselves to a schedule, to working hard to pay bills and take care of our loved ones, to aligning with cultural norms, etc. but instead the spiritual discipline we need to hold true to our values, our health/wellbeing, and of course the important and crucial, service to others. So where are our tapas right here and right now? For ourselves? For those around us?
Now of all times, we have an opportunity to capitalize on this. I have felt so lazy and lethargic some days during this quarantine—and noted that is fully through my privilege of being employed, being able to work from home, pay my bills, etc. A Zoom call with my coworkers, a FaceTime chat with old friends, some alone time to truly align with myself have all put me more at ease with where we are. And it’s not a bad place to be if we choose to use this time wisely…IF we choose to use this time wisely. Brené Brown powerfully speaks to how connection grows empathy, and through empathy we create a stronger self and stronger social ties, and ultimately a stronger world to live in. That’s a world I want to live in.
The benefits of our social connection could not be more important, especially as we are seeking ways to best serve each other in physical isolation. We have the privilege and opportunity to continue to connect and reinforce the depth of relationships already established. Think of the friends you used to see each day, your coworkers, other people you haven’t talked to in months. Call, text, FaceTime them!
On your next essential trip to the store or walk outside for some fresh air, shine your smile to the people around you. Let’s be intentional in our practice and commitment to reinforce our lives—boost our spirits, our immunity, our collective fight to get through this together. I know I feel heightened when I see it, feel it and do it. This is the time you can foster connection to better integrate life. And that little fire you feel crackling inside of you will warm the hearts of those around you. #FindYourFire
2023 Power Life Elevate, All Rights Reserved.
Built with 🤍 by Blink Consulting
2023 Power Life, All Rights Reserved.
Built with 🤍 by Blink Wellness
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Kirk was working 80-hour weeks and wearing his shoulders as earrings when he found yoga in 2005. Forever the competitive athlete, he loved the physicality of yoga. When the spiritual and philosophical side of yoga were exposed to him, Kirk was hooked. Yoga provided him with what other activities couldn’t -- the ability to foster the benefits of practice both on and off of the mat. Yoga was something that Kirk could bring into all aspects of his life.
Kirk knows that yoga can be intimidating, so he crafts a class that is playful and inviting, while still being challenging and safe. His creatively planned classes build strength and flexibility in your body and mind while establishing clarity, giving you more confidence to overcome obstacles in your life, and keeping you injury-free. His classes are themed with a message that is relatable and will inspire you to take it with you off your mat. Kirk has been teaching yoga since 2008 and lead his first teacher training in 2012. Where Kirk truly shines is in coaching, developing and bringing out the best in others.
Kirk enjoys traveling (40+ countries to date!), snowboarding, and cherishes time with his wife and two daughters.
Christen Bakken’s yoga journey began in 1998 in a Bikram studio that provided a safe and secure place to practice. She saw the yoga mat as a place to remember her purpose and a place to play. As she continued her studies and began her journey to teaching in 2006, Christen infused yoga classes with devotion and the yoga mat became a place of personal transformation and healing. Her classes are filled with laughter, song, sweat, and usually heart openers. In 2013, Christen began training yoga teachers. This is the place where she finds the most joy - in community with folks looking to grow and be of greater service in their homes, on their mats, and in the world. Over the years, she has led trainings in Denver, the Midwest, Florida, and now abroad. She has trained in continuing education modules, 200-hour, 300-hour, and 500-hour programs. Beyond the mat, Christen is a passionate adventure seeker - she loves to bike, snowboard, and spend time with her husband and pups. She sees each day as a blessing and hopes to remind all who interact with her of this truth.
We validate parking for THREE garages in the area!
Two Light garage located directly north of the studio. Please bring your ticket inside for validation.
Three Light garage at Main and Truman. Garage entrance on Truman. Please bring your ticket inside for a validation sticker.
Power & Light garage at 13th and Grand. Please ask for a parking pass at the studio front desk. (Hot tip: the Power & Light garage has a ton of space! But be sure to give yourself a little extra time to walk to the studio.)
If you find that you are running a couple minutes late due to parking, please call the studio to let the instructor know to wait for you before locking the doors.
We have partnered with our friends at Greenslate to provide 1 hour and 15 minute validated parking for Power Life students in the lot at 36th and Harney (just south of the Cottonwood Hotel). Read below to learn how to take advantage of this perk:
Step 1: Scan the QR code located in the lot.
Step 2: Select your destination (i.e. “yoga studio”).
Step 3: Ask for the validation code at the Blackstone studio front desk and enter it on your phone.
Step 4: You are all set! Have fun at class!
The validation provided by Power Life and Greenslate is for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Need to add additional time to your parking space? You can do that conveniently from your phone!
This option is valid once per day per license plate.
There is a paved lot and gravel lot on the West side of the building.
Meters on Court and 4th (by Peace Tree) for $0.25/hour, 9am-9pm Mon. – Sat. 12-hour max
Meters on 4th (to the North) for $1.25/hour. Mon – Sat. 4-hour max.
All meters are free on Sundays and major holidays.